Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans and 12 U.S. troops, Afghan and U.S. officials said.
US Central Command, Marine Corps General Kenneth F McKenzie Jr on Thursday (local time) said that an Islamic State terrorist attack at the Kabul airport killed 12 US troops and injured 15 more.
“Twelve US servicemen were killed and 15 injured in the attacks in Kabul. Despite this attack, we’re continuing the mission of evacuation,” Kenneth F McKenzie Jr, chief of US Central Command said.
The officer also said that after the explosion at the Abbey Gate of the airport, gunmen opened fire. He attributed the attack to the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility Thursday, and indicated that US military action in response is possible, according to Washington Post.
However, the explosions outside Kabul airport claiming over 60 lives were carried out by the US forces to destroy their belongings, claimed the Taliban who seized control over Afghanistan in mid-August.
“Several explosions were heard in Kabul in the evening. The blasts were carried out by US forces inside Kabul airport to destroy their belongings. Kabul residents are not worried,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet.
At least seven explosions were heard in Kabul city, hours after the twin suicide bombings outside the airport, that killed over 60 people, including US troops.
“A huge & shocking explosion, waves shake #Kabul 6th explosion. And another 7the explosion while I’m writing this. Two explosions,” an Afghanistan media outlet reported.
Four US Marines are among the 35 people who were reportedly killed in twin bomb blasts outside Kabul airport on Thursday. The first blast was reported at the Abbey Gate in Kabul airport while the second one was near the Baron Hotel.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed the development saying that “a number of US service members” were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the terror attack near Hamid Karzai International Airport and expressed his support for the victims of the blast.